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The new Steam Library Beta is officially out for you to try

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The day has finally arrived, Valve have now put out a Beta for the massive overhaul to the Steam Library so you can try it yourself. A huge amount has changed but likely some rough edges to be found since it's not quite finished. Promising though, a lot better in many ways than the old and stale interface that Steam has currently.

Here's how it will look now:

My favourite features is the new Collections which massively expands the old category system. Instead of having a single plain category to add games into you can now sort them by specific features automatically or have them manually sorted and picked by you.

Additionally, you can sort games into digital shelves on your Steam Library home page. To have quick and easy access to things. The new drag and drop abilities are sweet too, make a collection and then drag a bunch of games into it. Super handy!

Once you've made a collection, you can then add it to your Home as a shelf like my example above for "Kid Friendly" games which I then added and it works really well:

There's quite a lot of smaller touches to this large update. One that instantly caught my eye was the new icon next to the name of a game. It shows you now if someone on your Steam Friends list is currently playing it:

So in the picture above we have Dota 2, Dota Underlords, Rocket League and Slay the Spire all currently being played by people on my own Steam Friends list. It's such a small touch but quite a clever little addition I think.

One thing I am already not sold on, is how they've merged activity on game pages in your Library. So now you see game updates announcements, plus friend activity all together for each game by default. It makes it feel a little messy. There's a button to view all news which is good, but the interface there is a damn slow pop-up. As an example, here's Slay the Spire with an update in between some random friends doing things in it (it gets messier when friends do a lot):

There's a but coming…but I do love the new friends side-bar on each game page. Showing who is on that game right now, who has played it recently and so on. Features like this can really help people decide to pick up a game again.

Also added in this update is a new section in the Steam settings, allowing you to adjust the size of all the elements shown on the Steam Home. If you find all the images too big, you can adjust them down to a smaller size. Additionally there's options for a Low Bandwidth Mode and a Low Performance Mode.

Valve also seem to have removed the syndicated news section from game pages, something that I'm quite thankful for. I do read other sites quite regularly, I have no issues with many. The problem is, the news that appeared on Steam Library pages for games was often nothing to do with the actual game you're currently viewing. So I'm glad to see it gone in favour of more useful things.

How to access the Steam Library Beta? The usual way, by opting into the Steam Client Beta in the settings like so:

It will then download and you will need to restart Steam for it to

These additional changes also come with the Library Beta:

SteamVR

  • Added playtime tracking for SteamVR workshop items and for SteamVR itself
  • Titles that are hidden in the Steam Library will now be hidden in the recently played UI in SteamVR Home

Linux

  • Fixed a problem where the screen could go to sleep while using a controller
  • Fixed cases where the on-screen keyboard would steal focus
  • Added support for enabling the Big Picture overlay when using controllers with the desktop client
  • Help > System Information now runs several tests to check for common problems with your Steam Runtime environment. Make sure to include it in your bug reports!
  • Steam Linux Runtime updated to 0.20190913.0: merged i386/ and amd64/ directories for better layout and space savings.

The ability to now use the Big Picture Overlay when in desktop mode was available on Windows before. I've given it a quick test run and it does now work but it's really rough. With Rocket League for example, it stole all the input making it unplayable. Thankfully, using the normal desktop Overlay works as expected. Going to need a few adjustments there and that might even be specific to KDE which I use.

Another issue I've come across, is there now seems to be no way to view just Linux games. Previously, you could switch between Linux games and all games but now that option is just gone. It also no longer tells you if a game is running with Steam Play, that bit is also just gone.

If you do find issues, you can report them on Valve's steam-for-linux GitHub page.

You can see the dedicated page on Steam here for the new Beta.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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40 comments
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Purple Library Guy 18 September 2019 at 3:38 am UTC
eldaking
Doc AngeloThe dynamic ones sound interesting, but I'm not sure if these are actually useful. I already have a "Walking Simulator" category, but it would be of course kinda nice to not have to put a new game manually there. But... using the store tag "Walking Simulator" ends up with all kinds of games... even Skyrim, which is of course a joke of the community. This just can't work out. The other options were not really useful, especially "genres".

Yeah, steam tags always were a huge mess. The top selling "Strategy" games are... Counter Strike and a bunch of other shooters. But not to be outdone, Hearts of Iron 4 and several strategy games have the Action tag. RPG is applied to pretty much everything, but somehow misses some very normal RPGs. Which have the Puzzle tag because of some dungeon puzzles, but then some actual hardcore puzzle games are tagged only under Strategy. Look, I know that genres are simplifications and many games are in a gray area... but there has to be a better way.

Frankly, improving how games are tagged is a huge thing they could do to improve discoverability, especially if they are planning on incorporating some form of Deep Dive.

LakortaI agree with eldaking. Platform and negative filters would be nice, also unless I missed it there's no OR filter

Yeah, was noticing it... filters are always cumulative, so it is impossible to create a category that combines two tags. I can select games that are both action rpgs and jrpgs, but not all games that are either...
They should hire a couple of library people. We know how to do searches. And subject headings.


Last edited by Purple Library Guy at 18 September 2019 at 3:38 am UTC
Purple Library Guy 18 September 2019 at 3:39 am UTC
EMO GANGSTERlooks like we can no longer use Remote Play on non-steam games? it seems like I can no longer stream non-steam games it just shows the game with a grayed out install button instead streaming button is this bug?
Off topic but I wanted to ask, who's that avatar? Looks like Jack Skellington after using the Charles Atlas system.
Phlebiac 18 September 2019 at 6:52 am UTC
Quotethere now seems to be no way to view just Linux games. Previously, you could switch between Linux games and all games but now that option is just gone. It also no longer tells you if a game is running with Steam Play, that bit is also just gone.

Exactly the same issues I complained about when there was the "leaked" preview...
cprn 18 September 2019 at 7:15 am UTC
Oh, man! Steam lagged for me so badly yesterday just after update, and then when the new library loaded I thought something broke! Then I tried to run it again and it was lagging even worse, all the transition animations were hanging my system, until it generated its precious shaders or whatever it finished doing 5 minutes later... then it went almost smooth. It's perfectly fine performance-wise after disabling the extra news (it downloads stuff from store) and heavy animations (load up the CPU drastically on my machine, even though I have GPU acceleration on, GTX 1070). You can do so in Settings -> Library.

Functionality-wise, yeah, I agree, it's two steps back for us.


Last edited by cprn at 18 September 2019 at 7:18 am UTC
Philadelphus 18 September 2019 at 11:32 am UTC
DuncI had to resort to the magic SysReq key to reboot.
The what now?

Purple Library GuyThey should hire a couple of library people. We know how to do searches. And subject headings.
Do we need a standardized Library of Congress/Dewey Decimal System for games, and how hard would it be to create one?
eldaking 18 September 2019 at 11:32 am UTC
Purple Library GuyThey should hire a couple of library people. We know how to do searches. And subject headings.

Ha, as if there was an entire area where people learned how to catalogue media. Next you will tell me it has existed for longer than computers themselves, and that it is named "library" like the game collection on Steam.
Felix 18 September 2019 at 12:56 pm UTC
I've noticed some problems with steamwebhelper, crashes and can start using massive amounts of resources, 25 out of 32BG (ameliorated by turning off advanced graphical options), bit annoying.
Anyone else having the same problems?
Nanobang 18 September 2019 at 2:58 pm UTC
On a scale of 1 to 5 I give it a KLUNK.

Slow, bloated, CPU intensive, prone to lockup, and inscrutable to customize, Steam has swapped out an awkward library for one made from gold plated horse shit. I'll keep using the Beta, but it will be the Big Picture beta until this thing comes back from the intensive surgery it so desperately needs.
Dunc 18 September 2019 at 4:40 pm UTC
Philadelphus
DuncI had to resort to the magic SysReq key to reboot.
The what now?
Raising elephants is so utterly boring.
Micromegas 18 September 2019 at 9:00 pm UTC
EMO GANGSTERlooks like we can no longer use Remote Play on non-steam games? it seems like I can no longer stream non-steam games it just shows the game with a grayed out install button instead streaming button is this bug?

Oh wow. This would be really sad. I often use the feature to stream non steam games to start a terminal on my desktop computer from my netbook to do all sorts of stuff on my desktop remotely. :-(
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